I Believe

This last week has been one of the most terrifying, confusing, heart wrenching times of my life in regards to my faith (I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). But I want you to know, now, after it all, that I feel stronger and more passionate about this gospel than I ever have before. I will give you the “short version” but I feel extremely prompted to share my story. It started with someone I deeply admire leaving the church, which led me to discover material regarding serious doubts, intense church history and “factual” reasons to disprove the gospel. I spent hours weeping, fearing that everything I had ever believed was false, questioning if I even HAVE a Father in Heaven that I could even cry out to (yes, I was this afraid). I woke up the next morning, wishing it was just a terrible dream, and it wasn’t. Though, it was then that I realized I had two choices. I could either continue to fall deeper into despair and seek out reasons to believe the gospel was untrue OR I could gather my testimony, journal entries, opinions of others, and so on to solidify my previous faith. I wasn’t ready to go down without a fight. I prayed. I read. I called some of the most spiritual people I know. I thought of some of the most spiritual people I know. And it was while I was out walking the dog that I had an overwhelming calming warmth spread throughout my body. So strong that a smile quite literally grew on my face, the kind that hurts your cheeks type of thing. And it wasn’t something crazy. Something simple, that spoke to me soft and quiet. All I could think was, “The gospel is true.”

During this whole process I came to a conclusion. Either this gospel is true or it’s not. I believe it is. But here’s the thing; Even if it wasn’t or isn’t, I choose to stay. Some might think that is crazy or stupid. The way I see it though is if God exists, this is his church. If God didn’t exist, then I would continue doing exactly what I am doing. Why? Because when lived fully and earnestly, it will make me the best person I can be. Loving, caring, serving, hoping. I would much rather believe in something than believe in nothing. I don’t care what mistakes were made by members in LDS history anymore. They are only human. And of course it’s going to look bad when you compile every poor choice they made into a single document. I sure would hate if someone did that to me, you would probably hate me too! If the disciples who were constantly around Christ couldn’t manage to be even close to perfect (falling asleep when asked to wait while Christ atoned, betraying him, etc) and we haven’t even been in Christ’s presence, why would we expect ourselves or any others to be much better? And I have begun to have a hard time believing in “facts” because facts seem to always change. The earth was flat, Pangea never existed. Faith in religion is rarely factual, but that’s exactly the purpose of faith. Because when I look at the human body, the beautiful earth, the stars and planets above, I refuse to believe it’s just there- no plan, no creator. Which is a huge reason I love Alma 30:44.

“But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.”

Hard times will come when you believe in something. But when I realized that being a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will do nothing but persuade me to do good continually, it gives me such comfort. Comfort that no “evidence” can take away. I testify to you that I do believe in God. I believe that there is a plan. I believe that charity is necessary for us to succeed in this gospel. I believe that Joseph Smith did translate the Book of Mormon. I believe that mistakes are inevitable and help remind us of Christ’s glory. I believe that trials are inevitable. I believe that the gospel is as simple as it’s taught in primary, we tend to complicate too much as we grow older. I believe that Jesus Christ lived and that he lives. He is my Savior and my peace. I testify of these things to you all.

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  1. This is awesome! I have found that reading other literature is the way most people leave. It’s sad that they don’t all stop to think about it like you did. Such a good way to look at things. 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing this! I loved it

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this! I think at some point we all have a crisis of faith in some way and it is up to us to decide what we are going to do at that crossroads. Like President Uchtdorf said “Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith”. I have it printed and framed on my wall. I choose faith and don’t feel that I am losing anything for that.

  4. This article was so beautiful and truly has helped me in many ways at this time in my life. I’m a convert to the LDS Church and even though it has been fifteen years since I was baptized, it is always nice to read uplifting things that really cause me to feel the Spirit in the same way that I felt it all those many years ago when I searched for truth.

  5. I am struggling and not because I have issues with church history. I just don’t get those promptings everyone in the church talks about, I don’t feel my loved ones with me when I am in the Temple. I don’t feel like I fit in when I am with other LDS members. I lost my husband 11 years ago and was still young. The church treats single people like they are not normal. I’m happy being single until I find the right person, that may or may not happen and I get tired of church members acting like they feel sorry for me. Married LDS women are not welcoming to single women. I have many wonderful single and married friends who are not LDS and are always there for me. I love the basic teachings of the gospel, but agree with others who say that there are other religions who teach goodness and faith in the Savior. I struggle with teachings that say there is polygamy in the Celestial kingdom and that we can be like God. I personally don’t want either of those things. I want to experience peace and joy for eternity. With all that said, I still find it hard to leave because I have been surrounded by the teachings and culture my entire life. I hope I can find the answers I am looking for and inner peace.

    • In the LDS church, the Mormon culture is really the biggest problem. The people. I really hope your hang in there. The Gospel is true. XO

    • I’m sorry your Ward hasn’t been more accepting, I think the questions doubts and fears are really commen, and I think sometimes we mistakenly think we all feel things the same way. I grew up in be church but never felt the “burning” I had to ask Heavenly Father to help me recognize how I feel the spirit.
      Im not an extrovert and for many years I didn’t have real friends In the church, I now do and have realized that my close friends are people who have served me, or I have served them, people both in and out of the church.
      The older I get the more I feel the truth of Christ’s teaching that in His Father’s house there are many mansions. They aren’t all going to be decorated the same or have the same number of rooms, but there is peace for all.
      I believe, and I believe that MY testimony is the reason to go to church, and stay in church. And I now believe that if I don’t feel like I have friends at church it is in part because “my people” are quietly also feeling alone and they might need me to be the big girl and reach out first.
      We aren’t perfect, and we don’t need to be to be a part of Gods family, but we do need to be better, not because we aren’t “good enough” but because we are all children of God, all worth love. I hope you feel peace this week

    • What you are explaining, is likely in your current ward. I live in PA and there are many widows in our ward. Some are also divorced. We are all friends and I greatly admire all of them. My 2nd marriage happened in Utah. We moved to Florida for 6 years and then to Las Vegas. Every ward has strengths and very spiritual members. If you find things that are difficult to live with go higher than your bishop, if you feel the need. I had a meeting with a Stake President about a stake calling and he asked me 3 times, if there was anything I needed to talk to him about. I then spilled the beans about our bishop’s decision that greatly affected me. That bishop was released almost immediately.

      Your feelings matter to the Lord. The church is perfect but it is run by imperfect people. I just watched again a movie that I love on http://www.youtube.com called “The 3 Witnesses to the Book of Mormon.” There are 2 parts.

      Remember that there was polygamy in the Old Testament. Abraham and Jacob both had several wives. I was converted to the church when I was 15. I believe in Polygamy The purpose is to make members more spiritual.
      Men are capable of loving more than one woman at the same time. I don’t think women are. If the men and women in a polygamy situation can be loving with no guile or pride, they are greatly blessed.

      Donna

  6. I am a covert to the church, was baptized 16 years ago. I have never questioned my faith or the gospel, but have been questioned by many. Your testimony is beautiful and so very relevant to so many. I want to share this as a family home evening. Thank you for sharing!

  7. This takes courage to say, so thank you for saying it. I have literally been in the exact same situation – exact exact. From start to finish. Even the same scripture was brought to my attention by the spirit. The wonderful thing is there’s also this promise (which I have found to be incredibly true) : “signs follow them that believe in my name.” -Ether 4: 18 basically this “test of faith” is just the first launching point! There’s so much more you’ve unlocked the door to “know” and understand by beginning to break down “veils of unbelief”!! Because of this situation I was in, and you were in, the test was to see if we would come to the conclusion we already knew. I remember finding these verses of scriptures shortly after my “test”- and I bawled bc that was exactly what happened: (I imagine you’ll love these verses as much as I do: Ether 4:11-15

  8. God told Aaron and Mirium in no uncertain terms, with his anger kindled against them. .Numbers 12:6-9, Hear now my words…(In other words I’m only going to tell you this once. Since you are not listening to Moses I’m going to tell you personally.) If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream….With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?

    God would/sill speak to his prophet in person and have a personal conversation with his prophets. It would be in plain language and not secret riddles that would leave everyone trying to understand what is being said. Such as with Nostradamus.

    Those who try to destroy the gospel were so convincing in Christ’s time that they lead away those who were following the living Christ. They would no longer listen to his words because of the convincing power of their teaching. These are false teachers, false prophets and individuals who are sooth Sayers. They claim to know the truth but the spirit is not in them to support their own ever changing doctrines and opinions. They themselves follow the dictates of others who are leading them into dark places and they will only be led to deeper darkness as they grow ever wise in their own understanding.

    Those who have the truth , if they fall victim , we are warned will be led to deeper darkness, once having had the light because there is nothing that will ever completely fill the void where once the roots of light have existed. Joseph said that what ever level of light we have received we could be driven to equal depths of darkness. Joseph Smith warned of this as well as Isiah who warned us of those who promise answers yet are not true sources of light and inspiration or living Gospel of Christ. The result of seeking answers from dark places (anti-Mormons, modern Christian fellowships who spend years educating themselves on how to preach against Mormons) is apostasy and atheism. These sources of so called answers to truth are gathering all around and destroying Christianity as a whole and it is coming back in full swing against the church. This was also prophesied to happen by our early leaders.

    Isaiah warned in 8:11-22
    For the Lord spake this to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in he way of this people, saying…Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary…(then he continues to say that he could also be a stumbling block for those choosing to seek answers elsewhere. Then continues.) Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. Behold I and the children who the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Isreal from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion. (Be faithful and patient on the Lord. His church, his people are the sign and light for the disbelieving world)
    And then they (those falling away from the truth) shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? ( They are saying, justifying, if we are seeking God through trying to contact our dead then t is ok to get truth this way? TV shows have been made about this in our day. Who today has a familiar spirit as well? Paul warned that in our day we would heap unto ourselves teachers having itching ears that we would/could be turned from the truth and embrace fables. 2 Timothy 4: 3-4, Timothy 1:3-4)

    Then Isaiah pounds his fist on the pulpit…….To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them, And they (those seeking truth from ungodly sources) shall pass through it, hadly bestead and hungry. (Not helped, availed and still empty) and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, (in their frail state) they shall fret themselves , (be witless over what to do next) and curse their king and their God, (be further vexed towards God. Instead of loving him are driven to hate him instead.) and look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven (speedily hastened without choice such as a slave) to darkness.

    This is the journey of those who try to corrupt the teaching as well as those who are corrupted.

    Seek truth from the good books and from good sources. Even the accusations about the church are able to answered from good sources. If your leaders are not able to help most should, but not all have answers that may be satisfactory. Go find them in “The Cracked Planet, Fair Mormon, Momonality and so forth;” places where the answers can be trusted and not tainted with historical and scriptural wresting of the facts and deception.

    Once drenched in the bad can one return from the depths of despair? Yep…I did and so have many others who have been tricked out their beliefs and faith.

    The gospel is True…Stay strong in faith and trust the Lord and God.

  9. If you have been to the temple, you can confirm for yourself that today’s Temple ceremonies are the restored Temple ceremonies that Jesus Christ gave to His Apostles and the Seventy during the 40 days between His Resurrection and His Ascension:

    http://NewTestamentTempleRitual.blogspot.com

  10. mormonsarechristian July 18, 2015 — 9:10 pm

    If you have been to the temple, you can verify for yourself that the Temple ordinances today are the restoration of the Temple ordinances given by Jesus Christ to his Apostles and the Seventy during the 40 days between His Resurrection and His Ascension:

    http://NewTestamentTempleRitual.blogspot.com

  11. As I read your post Chandler, I was reminded of part of my RS lesson I gave last Sunday. Maybe this will help you and others. I see this life as a test, which it is. In the pre-existence, we were born of Eternal Parents, our Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. We grew and matured as spirits. To continue in our eternal progression, we needed the opportunity to be tested, to decide what direction we want to go. I like to think that we are at a huge testing center. Just like college, if we want to pass and obtain our degree, we have to endure the tests involved. What degree do I want? An associate, a bachelor, or a master. (By the way there is only one Doctorate degree. That belongs to our Lord, Jesus Christ.) I. cannot receive a masters degree if I only took the tests for an associate degree. Same with a bachelor degree. Most members that leave the church had once began their masters degree test. At some time they have decided that the tests are to hard and are working for another degree. That is their God given right to chose. Not all of us will earn masters degrees but all of us have the opportunity to do so. We are not left alone as we struggle thru this life. I myself am striving for my masters. Is it hard? You bet it’s hard but oh it is so worth it in the end. Hang in there my sister friend.

  12. Was in your shoes and made the same choice as you. I have jounal entries that contain identical themes, about faith being a choice. Some years passed and I tried to do my best to cast my assumptions aside and just follow the evidence. It led me to some irrevocable conclusions that, when confessed to my bishop, led me to effective disfellowship. Being punished for being authentic and honest about my beliefs was a negative experience for me, and led me to conclude that the LDS environment wasn’t a safe place for me, spiritually. I left, and I don’t miss it.

    Peace on your journey.

  13. I love this whole article. What I loved the most, however, was your comment about us complicating the gospel as we get older. Christ told us that we should all have faith as a little child. It is hard to do the older we grow, but we can learn so much from children.

  14. I find this story to be unlike so many others that I have seen. I am glad you decided to stick with the truth. When considering “facts” about the church’s history. All of the 3 witnesses to the book of Mormon left the church but none ever said that Joseph Smith made it all up WHY? What did they have to gain by this? Why when they left the church did they not simply say it was all a farce. The answer is that the book of Mormon is everything it claims to be that is the word of God. The great majority of the anti Mormon track is still devoted to tearing down Joseph Smith using lies and misinformation I have yet to see a credible argument against the Church’s doctrine. The reason is simple it is that the truth will never be torn down by lies. I remember this quote by Joseph Smith whenever I get angry and hear someone talking badly about him “I do not blame any man for not believing my history if I had not experienced it I would not believe it”. Pray my friend and read your scriptures you have more faith than a lot of people Ive seen in a long time. Thank you for sharing.

  15. One of the greatest gifts in my old age is the internet as I’m reading and learning mountains of information daily.
    I too stumbled on some unsavory business concerning the organization era of the church. The fear I felt at the time was shattering, and emotionally draining. The guilt I felt for seeking out these things was dreadful. Through continual prayer and seeking answers of truth, I too came to the conclusion that God knew I would serve him best through the LDS faith. This mediocre acceptance was all I needed for awhile, the Book of Mormon was the best meal of the day, my belief in the atonement was the Lord’s banquet for this life. But as I started working in Family Search, I was awakened to the most powerful bond between mortals and those that have gone on before; The Holy spirit prompts with a real powerful influence, and I know He guides our direction in finding ancestors who need their ordinances performed; These ordinances were restored to the earth through angels of God, and the promise and sealing powers of Elijah are true and of the upmost importance to God. “For this is my work and my glory to bring to pass the Eternal salvation of man.” Yes, everyone can find goodness, faith, and love through God, and people everywhere are invited to worship their Lord while receiving and giving ultimate blessings. But through the blessings of His holy priesthood, restored to the earth, I believe God has given us more.

    • Thank you for your poignant words, Cinfanny. Living the gospel and believing in eternal truths these days is a mighty struggle, but I know we can endure. What was the unsavory business you uncovered in your studies? I may be able to help.

    • Thank you for your poignant words, Cinfanny. Living the gospel and eternal truths has become a mighty struggle these days, but I know we can endure. What was the unsavory business you uncovered in your studies? I may be able to help.

  16. Posting this without links so it won’t get flagged as spam:
    The biggest reason adults become disenchanted at church is that we treat our introverts like they should be extroverts. We even teach our introverts to treat everyone like they should be extroverts.
    Welcome Welcome Welcome! Come out of your shell! Talk more! Share your deepest feelings! Track down those who didn’t come. We love you! We miss you! Ice cream socials! Dinner parties! Camping together! Let’s get together and make stuff while we chat. You’re coming right??? You’re so quiet. What’s wrong?? Do you need medication for social anxiety? Is some awful thing happening at home?? You can tell me anything. I understand how you feel so start talking. Now. I don’t get it–everyone loves you. Why won’t you come? You are shirking your God-given duty to reach out to and welcome welcome welcome everyone who needs you.
    Every class, every activity, every week. And when you speak up about your needs, they say “I totally get it–I’m that same way.” Then they continue to treat you like you should be an extrovert.
    Then one day you wake up and face the truth: I am not happy at church.
    Option 1: suck it up because supporting people at church is God’s idea. Keep going. Be there for others. Embrace Faith. Be miserable.
    Option 2: leave. God is good but church is not. Be happy.
    I don’t think God likes either option, but it’s what people do.
    If you want to save souls, go google “how to welcome an introvert”. Ponder it. Pray about it. Set goals. Make changes. Introverts will appreciate this shift to acceptance and true fellowship. Fake fellowship doesn’t cut it.

  17. I could relate the exact same experience. Suffice it to say, I fought through incredible doubt and confusion. I am the typical Mormon father of five who tries hard to do God’s will. I came to a point in my searching that I gave myself only one more week before I left the church. It just so happened that I had the second part of my temple recommend interview with the stake president’s counselor during that week. I could not answer the questions in the affirmative regarding Joseph Smith or the other aspects of the gospel. I was a mess. The counselor asked me if I would like a priesthood blessing. After the blessing, nothing changed. I went home confident in my decision to take my family out of the church. I was not happy. I prayed one more time before going to bed. I decided that I would stick it out. The humility and non-pretentious faith of the stake counselor got to me. I remembered my dad’s humble faith. I also recalled many prior experiences where I had felt the Spirit testify to me. I didn’t know how I would carry on, but I promised God I would.

    When I woke up, I could remember my doubts no more. It was if I had been washed clean. It was a miracle.

    I decided two things. 1. Faith is a choice. We have to choose faith, especially when moments are dark. It is not the other way around. We prove to God, and more importantly ourselves, that we choose faith. It is agency. 2. There is truth both in and outside of the church. Now, this will make a few non-Mormons and those who have left the church upset, but I compare truth to algebra and calculus.

    There are many churches which preach an “algebra” of truth and many find peace and happiness in those churches. In fact, there are many outside of any church or religion who learn algebra through acts of kindness and altruism. I believe in algebra. It is true and good. But…

    Algebra will not save us. We need calculus. There needs to be a few who understand and can complete the necessary ordinances of calculus in this life for themselves, for the current dead, and most importantly, to lead us into and during the the great millennium. Those who say algebra is true are absolutely correct. But that doesn’t preclude calculus from being true and algebra being a necessary component of it.

    In the end, the vast majority of humans who have ever lived or will live in mortality will be judged on their grade in algebra. They will, however, at some point be taught a higher form of math, so to speak. I know this is not a perfect metaphor but it helps me.

    Other churches are true. But the gospel in its entirety and saving form is singular. I will end with this, God will be so incredibly fair. We mortals have no idea of the fairness of God. It brings tears to my eyes as I think about how fair God will be. I am counting on it.

    • Thank you for your comment. I am so thankful to heart your story and agree completely with all you have said 🙂

    • Gordon, I LOVE that metaphor, thank you for sharing it. I too know that God will be SO much more fair to us than we would be to ourselves. When all is laid out there and we look back on our lives, we will fall at His feet in gratitude for His love and mercy. This I know.

  18. Thank you for sharing your feelings. I too have watched as family, friends and acquaintances have left the LDS Church. I grew up in the LDS Church but not in the “typical” LDS family. My father had grown up in the church and his family had been members for many generations. My mother had joined the LDS church as a young adult and had been raised attending many different Christian churches. But it was my mother who took us to church, my father never attended and had addictions and habits that the church taught were not healthy or good. But, I learned a great deal growing up like I did. I learned that not all members of the LDS church were “good” people and not all people who were not members of the LDS church were “bad” people. I learned to respect others’ views and to live as I believed to be true and right and to let others live as they believed to be true and right (as long as they didn’t hurt others). I was not raised to think that I was better than people who were not members of the LDS church, but have seen this among some people who are members of the LDS church. As a young person I learned that there is a difference between the “gospel” and the “church”. Sometimes members of the LDS church use these interchangeably, and that is unfortunate. The gospel is the teachings of Jesus Christ, including modern scriptures that I and other LDS believe have been revealed to modern day prophets. The church is the organization and the people. And people are fallible as human beings. We often expect those in authority, whether it be in a church or another organization, to be perfect or nearly so. But leaders, as well as common members, of the LDS church have and will continue to make mistakes and even sin. But their choices, sins, and mistakes do not change the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    I have family and friends who are from many different religions, agnostics, and atheists. I try to be respectful of them and their beliefs and I expect them to be respectful of me and my beliefs. I have attended other churches throughout my life and have made a choice to worship and belong to the LDS church. I was never brainwashed or threatened or felt lied to. When it becomes the hardest to be respectful is when people leave the LDS church and then become so hateful and vile towards those who still believe and go to church. Not all who leave are this way, but many are. If someone chooses to leave any church or religion, they are free to do so. But I would ask that they still be respectful of those who choose to stay in that religion or church. There is no need to be rude, cruel, call names, or belittle others as so many seem to do.

  19. I have family members who left the church and it hurts deeply. But I cannot and WILL NOT forget or ignore the things that I have learned regarding the truthfulness of the church. I remember praying very earnestly, one day, years ago, and was prompted to turn to a certain chapter and verse in my scriptures. The first prompting, I pretty much ignored, the second,I heard, but I hadn’t finished praying yet, so continued on. The third time, I was nearly knocked off my knees, so I quickly finished my prayers and went over to get my scriptures and turned to the chapter and verse that I was prompted to read. It was there, that I had found a very clear, very direct answer to my prayer. I learned that the Lord does hear and answer our sincere prayers. Another time, I was in VERY critical condition in the hospital. A blessing that I was given assured me that I would be healed. I survived a major surgery, that normally doesn’t leave one in such a nightmarish condition and realized just how powerful the priesthood is, in my life and that that the Lord keeps his word. If The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not true, then how is it, that my sincere prayer was answered through a prompting to open the Book of Mormon and read that particular verse and I can be at death’s door, and survive through the power of God and his priesthood and go home just a few days later? God lives . He and his son love each one of us and want what is best for each of us. I joined the church after the death of my mom after feeling like I was going down the wrong road in life, as an 18 yr old girl. The Lord knew the way I was headed. And he came to my rescue. How could one just up and leave the church after having so many experiences that prove that the church is true? I NEVER had an easy life, but I know that the Lord does have blessings for me down the road… and into the next life. I will trust him. And I will REJOICE !!!

  20. This reminds me of Pascal’s Wager: “Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.” Thanks for your post!

  21. Thank you so much for this. I, too, have doubted, and I am glad you thought of that in this sense. Mistakes really are inevitable, but like you said, it’s a remind of God’s glory! Keep posting things like this, I love it 🙂 I love your blog in general! You’re awesome

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